We bought our small Vendéen farmhouse twentytwo years ago when the youngest of our four children was eight.We had alllready been holidaying in france for some years and had made friends after a disastrous gîte rental had put us back out on hot roads; with crying children in an overloaded small car.Soon, in desperation, we were following the 'Camping à la ferme'and'Chambre d'hôte' signs of our friends and were soon ensconced in a pretty small'bocage' gîte attached to the main farm.
When our week's rental ran out; it was suggested that we move to another gîte in another farm a few kilometers away. This little home contained an old upright piano;and our bed on a platform under the eaves afforde a view of small birds hopping about on a meagre tree.
After the hurly burly of London teaching, we were in heaven; our boys playing'Prince' at family meals and sleeping with puppies in the straw of the barn;whilst our daughter mucked about on the out of tune piano.
We returned in future summers; and the house where we now live became available.we could just about manage the small mortgage settling on a price; the equivalent of 20.000 pounds.
It was avery unprepossessing little dwelling; boasting a cement floor and a kitsch bar in the main room; but it did solve our problem of 'What do we do with the kids in the holidays?'